The Flash: “Shade”


Jim’s Thoughts

“Shade” felt like a run-on sentence to me. I look at where it started and where it ended, and I know there was a much shorter path to that point. It’s not necessarily that anything was bad, it’s just that it seemed to drag its feet to fill the time and not drop its payload before the midseason finale.

As much as I like Joe as a character, I don’t care any more about his love life than those of Barry and Iris. At least Joe didn’t end his first date telling the woman he loved her. That would be in keeping with the pace of most romance arcs on The CW. I’m hoping there will be some sort of payoff to the main story, because West family drama dragged last season down enough.

Speaking of West family drama, I don’t think Wally’s story is doing what it hopes to. I understand the parallel stories between him and Caitlyn, but Wally is still a newer character. He’s not developed and I just can’t invest as much in what happens to him.

Cisco and Caitlyn has some nice scenes together, and I’m certainly interested to see what happens there. Of course, since we’ve already seen Killer Frost in Earth 2, it doesn’t carry quite the shock value it might otherwise have.

The real problem here is that the episode hinted at exactly what Kyle and I have been saying. Barry pondering the fact that going back in time was a mistake, and telegraphing his move to go back again and undo most of the season.

It wasn’t bad, but I’ve been saying that for a while now. It just wasn’t great, and I’ve been saying that too.

Kyle’s Take

“Shade” is a perfect example of what’s not working with Flash this season; this season’s story arc is a run-on sentence. As soon as we saw Caitlin with Killer Frost powers, we knew that ridding her of those powers would be the thing that would send Barry back in time and the rest of the season has been marking time—for two and a half months—until that happens. All this week’s Flash did was squash any lingering doubt Barry wouldn’t do the time warp.

I agree with Jim that Wally’s story falls flat and that Killer Frost doesn’t carry the shock value Flash wanted. Both problems could’ve been fixed if Flash had flipped the two characters’ arcs. We don’t care about Wally because he’s new and we don’t know him that well. We could’ve gained a better sense of who he is if he were granted powers at the beginning of this season and we saw him struggle with them or use his powers for different means than Barry. Also, we don’t worry about Wally turning into Kid Flash because, with the information we were given at the time, the only downside to Barry failing to stop Alchemy would be gaining another speedster sidekick. That’s not a true risk. If Team Flash was giving up Caitlin and the Flash villain Killer Frost, that would’ve built a tower of tension.

The only reason I can gather why Flash wanted Wally to be bait (instead of Caitlin) is that it introduces Savitar. This new villain can give speed and take it away (per the comics). We catch a glimpse of his powers for ten seconds, Flash gives us a money shot of the big baddie, and he says, “I am Savitar, God of Speed.” Ten seconds sums up this season’s character development.

I couldn’t invest in Wally’s “nightmares” because we weren’t shown the once and future metahumans struggle with Alchemy’s nightmares before “Shade.” Sure, Magenta told us she had nightmares before she gained her powers, but she’s an abused child. Those nightmares could’ve been from her foster dad’s beatings and when we were introduced to her, I attributed abuse as her nightmares’ origin.

I agree with Jim that Caitlin and Cisco had some great moments, and Detective West’s love story doesn’t do anything for me. The titular villain-of-the-week Shade was forgettable; he was nothing more than a decoy. I’d almost want to get hair plugs so I could pull out my hair when Flash does this little with its weekly villain.

I’ll echo Jim; “Shade” wasn’t a bad episode. As far as episodes this season, it’s better than most. Flash should continue to pick up as it heads closer to Killer Frost and Barry’s inevitable time and earth hopping.

Thanks for reading.


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